One of the most beneficial things we can do to grow is reflect. Reflection is important in all aspects of our lives. As educators, students, mothers, fathers, employees, managers, and friends, we can all become better through reflection. Yet, reflection is one of the hardest things for people to do. Along with revisiting things that went well, sometimes it's hard to reflect because it means looking at things that didn’t go well and that can be a difficult task. But, that is where reflection can help us grow. Mentally we all reflect, to some extent, before, during and after a lesson, presentation or meeting. Putting some of these thoughts down in a more concrete place will help your reflection become more powerful.
It is important to remember that there isn’t one method of reflection that will work for everyone. Many times we feel that reflections need to be lengthy one to two page documents, yet some of the most powerful reflections are short and to the point. Sometimes the struggle is where to reflect and how to reflect. Here are a few questions and suggestions to help guide you and your students as you begin reflecting.
- What went well?
- What surprised you?
- What made you most proud?
- What would you do differently?
- What new goals do you have or what new things do you want to try?
How do you do this? What does it look like? Here are five suggestions:
Blogs are your more typical way of reflecting. Today there are multiple options out there for you to choose from. The great thing about blogs is that you can make them private or share them out.
2. Video/Voice Reflection (QuickTime, Phone Camera, Notability)
Many times it is easier to say what you are thinking instead of trying to write it down. Try using Quicktime or even your camera or voice recorder on your smartphone. Another idea is to use Notability or Explain Everything where you can record your voice and jot a few things down.
3. Survey students (Google form, Socrative, Survey Monkey)
What about reflecting by finding out what your student think or thought about a lesson or unit. Use some of the tools above to gauge how things went. Then, take the results and set some action goals on what you might do differently next time.
4. Quick response system (Padlet, TodaysMeet, Lino, Popplet)
Using an online bulletin board or sticky note system might work well for you. These can be used to quickly throw down an idea or thought and then arranged at a later date. Think of these as “in the moment” types of reflection where you quickly jot down what is working and what might need to be changed.
5. Reflecting with Images (Notability, Explain Everything, Doceri)
Use a drawing app sketch your reflection. These can be used to summarize a topic or take a pulse on how learners are feeling about the day. Turn on some quiet music and watch the drawings take shape.
As you being reflecting, remember not to place too much pressure on yourself about what or how you are reflecting. Try and focus on a few of the questions above to see how they benefit you. Don’t forget to revisit your reflections from time to time to help you set your action goals and if you are feeling adventurous….share them out.
Written by Jeanette Carlson